Posted in Book reviews

Moody Book Review: “The White Umbrella: Walking with survivors of sex trafficking” by Mary Frances Bowley

Title: The White Umbrella: Walking with survivors of sex trafficking

Author: Mary Frances Bowley

Type: Non-fiction

Number of pages: 200

Source: Moody Publishing Blogging program: http://mpnewsroom.com/

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Description: 

Sex trafficking. We hear about it on the nightly news and in special interest stories from around the world, but it occurs daily in communities all around us. Every year, thousands of young women are forced into sexual exploitation. Most are under the age of 18. The damage this causes to their emotions and souls is immeasurable, but they are not without hope.

The White Umbrella tells stories of survivors as well as those who came alongside to help them to recovery. It describes the pain and the strength of these young women and those who held the “white umbrella” of protection and purity over them on the road to restoration.

This book offers principles and guidance to anyone with a heart for these hurting young women and a desire to help. It is an ideal resource for individuals or organizations seeking to learn what they can do to assist these victims in becoming whole again.

 

My Review:

This book is one that you’re sure not to forget. And one that should definitely be read by anyone who is considering working with (or even praying for) survivors of the sex-trafficking trade.
It gave me such a better view into what the girls and women go through *after* they are out of that slavery, and what you can do to help them.
It was very sad, too – I expected that. It is real-life accounts; some told by the women that went through it themselves.
This book is a gem. Wellspring Living Program is amazing and I wish I had the opportunity to volunteer there.
I had to take my time with this book, and sometimes take a step back from it, because it was heavy and hit hard. But it was so good and so helpful. I know I will look back on it many times. I have learned much from it, which I appreciated it.
Really, I think this is a must-read for those considering involving themselves in the campaign to end sex-trafficking.
It is an amazing and awe-inspiring book. But do read with ‘caution’ – this isn’t a fluffy happy read. It is a serious plight of women everywhere.

 

Thank you to Moody Publishing for my review copy. :)

I received a free copy of this book from Moody Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion, which I have given.

Posted in lists, Pictures, Pinterest favourites

Dresses! Everywhere!

Okay, so there has been a lot of hype about the “Five Glass Slippers” book collection going on lately (you heard about it? It was pretty fun to follow…), and it got me to thinking about ball-gowns, and what I would wear to a ball. :) So, I decided to choose some of my favourites from Pinterest and share them here. :) Note: They are not in exact order XD

What would you wear?

 

Oh my word, oh my word, oh my word - I REALLY want this dress!! http://www.instyledress.co.uk/uploads/product/1/2/12020/pink-beaded-ball-gown-with-cap-sleeves-2.jpg

^ I LOVE this one. This is one of my very top favourites!

http://www.merledress.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/b/a/ball_gown_strapless_embroidery_sleeveless...

^ I like this one a lot, but I’d want like capped sleeves or something – or a matching shrug. Something to provide more ‘coverage’ :)

 

Charles James Evening Dress, 1953-54.  Lovely!.

^ I think this one is lovely, though a bit simpler. :)

 

This is sooo gorgeous!!

^ And isn’t this one just lovely? I love the colour, and it’s just so..stunning!

 

Brand new Beading Hand Made Flowers Ball Gown Strap Floor-length Little Girl Pageant Dress- $167.49  www.fashionos.com    --wow :D

^ And I admit I like this one. :D

 

Wow. It looks like the night sky...

^ I ADORE this one. If I were going to a ball, I’d definitely choose this as one of the qualifiers :D

 

I don't think I'd wear this as my wedding dress, but it is very Princess-y :)

^ And this one is a perfect princess-y dress! I love it. :)

 

..

^ This one is pretty :)

 

White and Violet medieval dress - I love this!

^This is lovely.

 

A contemporary gown with Medieval styling, consisting of a long-line laced corset bodice with off-the-shoulder neck-line, silk chiffon hanging sleeves and a toning silk skirt.

^ This one is very lovely colours and style.

 

Belle of the Ball Gown, #ModCloth - This is SO gorgeous and I want it very much.

^ Though I don’t know if I’d wear this to a ball, I absolutely adore it!

 

 

 

This is beautiful!

^ And I’d wear a sheer cloak like this one, to the ball. :)

 

dragonflyshoes - I'm not a huge shoe fan, but I'd wear these :)

^ And how about these for shoes? :)

 

So, which of these dresses is your favourite? And if you were going to a ball, what dress (of any kind) would you choose? I’d love to hear/see! =)

 

Posted in Give-aways

Annnddd the winner is….

Thank you for all who entered in the “The House of Mercy” give-away so kindly sponsored by the lovely author, Alicia Roque Ruggieri! It was such a pleasure to have the chance to read this book, as well as host the give-away here!

Please join me in congratulations to the winner,

Lu Ann Worley!!!

Congrats, Lu Ann! I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did! :)
Alicia will be in contact with you – if she hasn’t done so already. :)

God’s blessings to all entrants and the winner!

Posted in Blogging For Books, Books, God's Lessons, Reviews

Blogging For Books Review: “A Broken Kind of Beautiful” by Katie Ganshert

Title: A Broken Kind of Beautiful
Author: Katie Ganshert http://www.katieganshert.com
Type: Fiction
Source: Blogging for Books http://www.bloggingforbooks.org/
Number of pages: 312
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Description:

Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four-year-old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth — appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows — so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line — an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white

My Review:
I enjoyed this book a lot more that I thought I would. Truly.
Going into it, I expected it to be just your average Christian romance fiction. I was delighted to find myself mistaken!
This book was beautifully written. The main character, Ivy, is *so* flawed and broken despite her beautiful cover. The author handles and sculpted this difficult, but real, character just perfectly. In hard situations that threatened to break Ivy’s walls, she reacted in the way you’d see from some broken people. She was real – not “fluffified” (:)) and I appreciated that thoroughly.
The male main character was superb as well. You can’t help but fall in love with him. ;)
I really loved Marilyn, Sara, and Jordan, as well.
But yes, the story was fantastic. It all came together so nicely, and all worked together for a lovely ending. Though I do wish the ending could’ve gone on a bit longer. You know it’s a good book when you don’t want it to end. :)
I loved it. In all it’s brokenness, I loved it. Because I am rapidly learning to love the broken kind of beautiful. God sees us, His children, as beautiful creations – in all of our brokenness!
I love the message of Redemption – so amazing! I was in tears at multiple points and I have many spots tagged for further thought and remembrance.
Oh and I don’t always read the acknowledgements, but Katie Ganshert’s was very good!
I loved it all. Beautifully Broken!

One of my favourite quotes:
“God’s not in the business of pampering His children. He’s in the business of perfecting them.”
― Katie Ganshert, A Broken Kind of Beautiful

:)

Note: I received a free Advanced Readers Copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest and unbiased review, which I have provided.

Posted in Book reviews, Give-aways

Book Review and Giveaway: “The House of Mercy” by Alicia Roque Ruggieri

Hello dear readers!
Today I have a special treat for ye. Recently, author Alicia Roque Ruggieri contacted me asking if I wanted to review her debut novel, “The House of Mercy” and if I’d also be interested in hosting a give-away of her book. I was super pleased (you can ask my family if you don’t believe me!) and agreed directly.
Well, I have just finished reading the book, and…wow! It really is amazing. I loved it. :)
Below you will find my ‘proper’ review of it, followed by a rafflecoptor giveaway where you can enter to win your own paperback copy of “The House of Mercy”! The give-away will run a week, ending on the 26th, and it’s available only to continental U.S. residents.

Title: The House of Mercy
Author: Alicia Roque Ruggieri
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 274
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Description: (Taken from Amazon)

What is crooked cannot be made straight. In his twenty years, Deoradhan has swallowed much of sorrow’s cup and found it bitter. Haunted by his father’s murder at the hands of one he trusted, distanced from the Roman God who betrayed him, burning to obtain his rightful throne in the rugged north, the young exile returns to Logress, where High King Arthur holds together a frail confederacy. Yet Deoradhan finds that crowns are more easily taken away than given. When the high king refuses to meet his demands, will Deoradhan stop at nothing to gain his rightful position? And what of those whose lives are interwoven with his? A story of justice, love, and mercy in post-Roman Arthurian Britain.
Appropriate for young adult/adult readers.

My Review:

This is one of those books where it leaves you almost speechless, really. I am not quite sure how to review it with adequate words. :)
This book held many plot twists I was so not expecting, but in the end they were all so good! The ending was very good. Ah, all of it was good! Hehe, okay, I will try better to focus on an actual review. :)
The characters were lovely. Truly. Each one was described so well that you were able to see them as real-life people. They had their flaws, but that just made them more realistic. I will say that Calum was my favourite character. He…well, he was just marvelous.
I enjoyed that we got to see from quite a few different character’s view-point; that was really interesting and beneficial to the story.
Lady Tarian’s character and story was another one of my favourites – I would love to follow hers, as well as Deirdre’s story further. :)
I of course liked the main character, Bethann, and I also grew to really love Aine. It was powerful for me to read how she found the True love she was so hungry for!
The back-cover description of the book only mentions Deoradhan, but this story is about so much more – and it all weaves together just beautifully.
I absolutely loved seeing the journey each character had to take toward redemption and mercy! That was done so well. And though I was not expecting a couple of the turn-outs, I realize now how perfectly they fit, and gave just a magnificent show of God’s unending mercy and love.

This book was not a tedious read in the least. In fact, it was quite the opposite. It was such an enjoyable, light read yet filled with many deep truths. We are never far from God’s love, and always in His forgiving, redeeming mercy that is always unending.

The only thing that slightly – and only slightly – tripped me up a bit, was that the author used a lot of longer, descriptive words in places. It wasn’t terrible, just maybe not necessarily needed.

But truly, that aside, I found this a marvelous book, one I would be sure to re-read! And I am very interested in reading more from this author when/if she publishes more! :)

Thank you so tremendously much, Alicia, for this fantastic opportunity!

Now, onward to YOUR chance, readers, to read this book :

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A New Englander by birth, Alicia Roque Ruggieri loves woodland trails, craggy seas, and misty mountains. She grew up expecting to find Narnia through her closet, but, alas, she was always disappointed every time she checked. A fierce devourer of good books, Alicia has written creatively from childhood. Alicia’s educational background lies in Mass Communications and History, and God has blessed her with interesting adventures in small business ownership, theatre direction, restaurant management, and freelance writing.  In writing and living, Alicia desires to honor the Lord Christ, showing His beauty, redemption, and mercy.

ABOUT THE HOUSE OF MERCY:

When a hailstorm ruins her father’s crops, teenaged Bethan goes as a kitchen servant to Oxfield. There, she intends to work off her family’s debt to Lord Drustan before returning to marry the fervent son of a local priest. Yet, in her first days at the old Roman fortress, Bethan meets two men who are very different from the priest’s son, friends who have dark histories… and shrouded futures.

In his twenty years, Deoradhan has swallowed much of sorrow’s cup and found it bitter. Haunted by his father’s murder at the hands of one he trusted, distanced from the Roman God who betrayed him, burning to obtain his rightful throne in the rugged north, the young exile returns to Logress, where High King Arthur holds together a frail confederacy.

There at Oxfield, Deoradhan’s friend Calum seeks absolution for a deed he committed many years ago… a deed that ended in the death of one dearest to him and drove him from his home.

Will Deoradhan stop at nothing to gain his rightful position? Is atonement possible for Calum after so many years? And what of those – including Bethan – whose lives have become interwoven with theirs?

A story of justice, love, and mercy in post-Roman Arthurian Britain.

Rafflecoptor Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Please click on the link above if the rafflecoptor image does not show up on your browser!)

           

Posted in Book reviews, Litfuse

Litfuse Book Review: “Raptor 6” by Ronie Kendig

“Raptor 6”

By Ronie Kendig

http://roniekendig.com.

Book One in The Quiet Proffessionals Series

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Number of Pages: 351

Source: Litfusegroup.com

Description:

His team. His mission. A mission that comes at the highest cost!

Captain Dean Watters keeps his mission and his team in the forefront of his laser-like focus. So when Dean’s mission and team are threatened, his Special Forces training kicks into high gear. Failing to stop hackers from stealing national security secrets from the military’s secure computers and networks isn’t an option.

Zahrah Zarrick is a missionary teacher to Afghan children in Mazar-e Sharif. And a target. When Zahrah is captured because of her expertise in quantum cryptology, compromising the U.S. military, Dean is forced to crack the lockbox around his heart—a move that might come at the highest cost.

My Review:

Where to begin… :) I requested this review book from Litfuse mainly for two reasons – one, the description mentioned Zahrah being a missionary teacher which interested me, and two, because the book seemed ‘my type’ of book; I’ve written some (unofficial, and probably full of errors) military-related writing, and enjoy fiction books of that subject.
This book did have good aspects to it, and it was pretty well-written. But I, personally, had a hard time really getting into it, maybe because I had a slightly difficult time relating to the main character, Dean. I liked the secondary character, Zahrah, but her sections in the book weren’t as many.

One thing that kinda tripped me up a little, was having to constantly flip to the front glossary to figure out what the military terms being used meant. You only really had to do that for the first quarter of the book, though, since you kinda gathered what was meant and said by the rest of the book.

I enjoyed the bit towards the very end (I won’t give away anything) that was very intense, but also very…sweet/break-through/teaching/learning. I don’t know if that makes sense… :)
Actually, the ending was probably my favourite part; the last ten chapters or so.That part was what most interested me and kept my attention.

The next book in this series appears to be about one of the other members of the Raptor team  – “Hawk” – and I might check that out when it is available. :)

If you’re thinking about reading this book, don’t be turned away by my review – check out multiple book reviews! This might be just the book you’re looking for! While this book wasn’t a full hit with me, that doesn’t mean that it won’t be your next favourite. Like I said, it had many good aspects, and action going on. The author obviously knows her military-stuff!

 

I received this book free from Litfuse in return for my honest and unbiased opinion, which I have given.

Posted in Spiritual beliefs

Please read, and sign

Hello readers :)
I’m sure some of you might have heard about Meriam Yahia Ibrahim who is being sentenced for death because she is a Christian. I have been reading quite a few different things on that case recently, and have been signing the petitions, too. And that is what I am here to ask you to do – please prayerfully consider to sign the petition to help release this Christ-following mother of two little ones.

Here is the link to the petition:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/act-case-meriam-ibrahim-sudan-and-her-baby-and-toddler-prison/D1x1q4VG

And in case you have not heard about this, here is some information, and places you can find more information:

“A 27-year-old Sudanese woman, Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, was sentenced to death in early May for apostasy. Eight months pregnant at the time of her sentencing, she gave birth to a baby girl on May 26. Ibrahim explained to the court that she had grown up as a Christian under her Christian mother’s care, but the court convicted her of apostasy because her father is Muslim. In addition, she is to receive 100 lashes for a charge of adultery, relating to her 2011 marriage to a South Sudanese Christian man. Since Ibrahim’s father is Muslim, the marriage is not recognized under Sharia law. Her own family filed the complaint about her marriage, resulting in the charges. The court gave her three days to recant her Christian faith, but she refused.” – Taken from the Voice of the Martyrs https://www.be-a-voice.net/qrs/bv_page.taf?_function=bltn&_id=351&_nc=19d8495a561d739c3209fa71b0ed89af

Be Heard (info and petition) http://beheardproject.com/meriam

The following I found on a great blog that is also keeping up with this case, Thoughts from a Daughter of God http://thoughtsfromadaughterofgod.blogspot.com/2014/06/help-meriam-time-may-be-running-out.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ThoughtsFromADaughterOfGod+%28Thoughts+From+a+Daughter+of+God%29

“Would you please sign the White House petition on Meriam’s behalf
and would you then please ask your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers,
and anyone else you can think of to sign as well?

The sooner the White House petition has the
mandatory 100,000 signatures – the sooner
the White House is forced to respond!!

And an interesting side note –

Anyone 13 or older can participate
and sign the White House petition –
it says so right here!!

Other governments have expressed outrage at Meriam’s horrific sentencing…
we need the government {which Meriam’s husband is a citizen of} to swiftly
respond.

It is said that Meriam will face her
100 lashes
in the next two weeks! ”

Another blog that is supporting this case is: A Place Called Simplicity
http://aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com/

Thank you all!

Posted in Book reviews

Book Review: “Miranda Warning” by Heather Day Gilbert

“Miranda Warning”

By Heather Day Gilbert

A Murder in the Mountains Novel

Number of pages: 357

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

{To read description, see cover, and find out more about the author, visit my previous post, here: https://godspeculiartreasurerae.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/new-book-coming-out/ )

 

The book was captivating from the first page.  I had my e-copy downloaded on both our desktop computer and my small laptop and would read it whenever and wherever I had the chance. I really do love Heather Day Gilbert’s writing style. There is something about it that is so easy to read, and so engaging. Once again, as with her book, “God’s Daughter”, Mrs. Gilbert forms very life-like, relate-able, and very strong characters. At some points, the main character, Tess, reminded me of a modern-day Gudrid, which I liked. But Tess also had so many characteristics of her own that made her a complete separate character as well. I really liked her husband’s character, Thomas, as well as his little brother, Petey. Miranda was a superb character as well. Really, all of them were so well constructed. But yes, onto the story itself.

A Murder Mystery.  “Miranda Warning” had so many twists and turns, and unexpected occurrences, and it wasn’t all solved until the very ending. It was well done, the putting together of it. It was like a slow-forming puzzle. A piece here, a piece there, and finally you see the whole picture at the end. Every piece of the mystery explained.

However, there were a couple things I was a bit uncomfortable with, to be honest. The book showed the reality of demons, and even possible demon possession, but did not show the Triumphing Power of our Savior who overcomes everything and covers us with His light and protection.

 

SPOILER ALERT:  Yes, I know that Rose needed to seem like she was struggling and even loosing her mind,  (END OF SPOILER)

 

…but I believe that you shouldn’t provide the presence of demons without giving the readers the next step of what to do about them. Because I know that I personally felt a little creepy after reading those parts, and I thankfully know to pray cleansing and Jesus’ protection, but I fear that some readers will not know what to do with that feeling of the presence of demons. Because yes, I do believe there are demons and they are present wherever one gives them room, but Christ gives us the power to kick them out.  I just would have liked to have seen the message of Jesus a bit more pronounced and more centered to the story.

I also was a little curious to the fact that there were some obvious tension-filled moments between Tess and her husband, Thomas, and it didn’t seem to be completely resolved in the end, nor pointing to the fact that God can heal the struggles between them.

Now, please keep in mind that I am not complaining – out of 357 pages, this is all I disagreed with or was not comfortable with.  I really did enjoy this book very much, there were just some things that I wish could’ve been a little different.

The story was thoroughly enjoyable, and very hard to put down! The characters were well thought out, and well written. I was pleased with this read to be sure! (Oh and Heather Day Gilbert has a Pinterest Board of Miranda Warning inspiration pins that I thought fit the story very well! It’s always fun to see how the author themselves picture their characters and everything!)

 

I received an e-copy of this book for free from the author in exchange for my honest and unbiased review which I have given. All thoughts and opinions are my own